So earlier today I had the nerve to report the Dolphins have a receiver among their list of targeted players Friday evening as the NFL draft rolls through the second and third round. How dare I?
That’s the reaction I got from some readers who think I’m advocating that’s what the Dolphins should do rather than merely reporting that’s part of the team’s mindset.
So let’s clear things up before the second and third rounds begin. I am not advocating the Dolphins pick the receiver I mentioned (click on the darn link to learn the player’s name and help a journalist out). But I understand the thinking behind the possibility.
So here it is:
If the Dolphins pick a receiver Friday night, particularly a slot receiver, it doesn’t mean Jarvis Landry is on the outs. It doesn’t mean the Dolphins don’t love Landry. It doesn’t mean Landry is going to be traded. Or not signed.
But it does mean that suddenly the Dolphins would have a backup plan to Landry being the end-all to the Miami passing offense.
Adding a slot receiver that happened to break the FCS record for most catches means that if -- hopefully never happens, but if -- Landry gets injured, there is a capable slot guy ready to step in. You’re not asking Kenny Stills or Devante Parker -- two outside threats -- to move out of position.
You’re not asking Jakeem Grant to step up, which he didn’t exactly do last year as a late-round draft pick.
You’re not necessarily banking on Leonte Carroo, who didn’t make a splash as a rookie, to make a splash his second season.
You have insurance from disaster if the receiver you’re picking is what you think he’s supposed to be.
One other thing that happens is that suddenly you’re not in a weak position in the Landry contract negotiation. Think about that.
Right now, Jarvis Landry knows he’s going to be able to demand significant money in his looming contract extension negotiation. And he’s likely going to get what he wants because he’s productive and the Dolphins don’t really have a way to replace him.
So what if he asks for $12 million per season.
A slot receiver not named Larry Fitzgerald in his prime asking for $12 million per season.
Without someone else they can turn to at that spot the Dolphins might have to stretch their receiver budget and come very, very close to that figure. But if they have a good fallback position, the Dolphins can tell Landry to play his final contract year and keep him on the roster at a bargain.
And next year they can revisit the contract issue. And if it doesn’t get resolved to everyone’s satisfaction, the team can franchise Landry and keep him yet another year.
In other words, the one-sided contract extension talks become balanced. Landry can ask for a lot of money, but suddenly the Dolphins can make the point they don’t have to pay so much.
It is, to summarize the past few paragraphs, a way for the team to give itself options.
By the way, this thinking doesn’t only apply to wide receiver.
Many fans are screaming the Dolphins should draft a guard. Well, they have two starting guards for 2017 in Jermon Bushrod and Ted Larsen. Adding a guard Friday evening would give the team options going forward to have a competition and a young guy for years to come.
The Dolphins have their starters in weakside linebacker Kiko Alonso, middle linebacker Lawrence Timmons and strongside linebacker Koa Misi. Adding a linebacker in the second or third round suddenly opens the possibility that Misi goes to the bench. Suddenly, the Dolphins aren’t counting on Misi.
Picking a linebacker gives the Dolphins options.
Safety? Same thinking. The Dolphins signed Nate Allen this offseason. They have T.J. McDonald coming off suspension after eight games. So they don’t need a safety.
But drafting one addresses the position for the future. It means that if Allen plays in Miami as he did last season in Oakland, meaning not great, then he’s out. It means that if McDonald isn’t what the Dolphins hope he might be in November and December, he’s out, too.
The team can turn to the rookie.
The Dolphins can turn to their options.
That, my friends, is what this is all about.
Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero